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Google Maps / Europe Travel / Cycling / Bike Travel / Hamburg Travel / Liechtenstein Travel / → All Tags
Good news for all of you with tickets for summer travel to Europe. Google Maps has recently added the ability to get turn-by-turn directions for bicycling routes in six new countries: Ireland, France, Germany, Poland, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein.
As usual, the way to access the maps is by plotting your route and then selecting the little bicycle logo as your means of transport, versus directions for driving, public transport or walking. Cities in the USA first received the ability to display Google Maps bicycle directions way back in spring 2010, so it's about time some of the world's cycling capitals were able to join the fun.
Google Maps / Travel Tech / Google / Bad Ideas / → All Tags
Forbes has a nice little post about the new version of Google Maps that's getting rolled out. Apparently it has all kinds of neat features. There is a new interface that pops up information cards whenever you search for an address. On the card are options to save the location, get directions, see the Street View, and so on. There are options for comparing trip versionsshould you hop on a bus or driveand a smoother, more detailed map. Slick.
And then at the very bottom of the post there's a mention about how the new Google Maps version has new algorithms for directing users to restaurants and other facilities. Google will compile everything it knows about youyour clicks and preferences, and you social networks, and what you mention over emailto shape the personalize the information it shows you just like it does with search results.
Theoretically users will get to see more of what they prefer, and less of what they don't. Concludes Forbes: "very cool."
Tragedies / Terrorism / Boston Travel / BOS / Travel News / Google Maps / → All Tags
This afternoon, as the 26.2-mile Boston Marathon was under way with approximately 27,000 runners, two explosive devices detonated in the vicinity of the Finish Line, near the downtown Boston intersection of Boylston and Essex Streets. Initial reports state that the bombs were in trash cans within a block of each other (we've pinpointed the locations on a map below) and the explosions caused storefronts to explode as well as serious injuries for bystanders.
· 10pm: American Airlines is also offering a change waiver for flights to/from Boston. The Wall Street Journal tweets: "Officials found what they believe are 5 additional, undetonated explosive devices in Boston area."
· 8pm: One of the two confirmed dead is an 8-year-old boy.
· 7:15pm: The London Marathon is scheduled for this upcoming Sunday. Organizers are working with US authorities to review security and the potential for a copy-cat crime. The London Marathon is expected to have 37,000 runners. [Source: NBC News]
Japan Travel / Travel Technology / Google / Google Earth / Google Maps / Disaster Travel / → All Tags
You guys know that we have this weird love-hate relationship with Google Earth and Google Maps, which have basically become de facto travel technology because of all the insane places that Google has photographed. For a small taste of our ambivalence, see here and here for discussions regarding the phrase "now you can travel without ever leaving the comfort of your home." Has a douchier thing ever been said, anywhere? Travel shouldand in a very precise sense, just isabout leaving your home.
That said, there are a couple of places we don't see ourselves traveling to. If Google wants to photograph those and dump them into Earth or Maps, we'll happily indulge ourselves for a few hours (read: days). Cue this news that Google Street View has just added shots of Namie, a city that used to house 21,000 residents but is right in the center of the Japanese nuclear zone created by the earthquake plus tsunami two years ago that destroyed the Fukushima plant.
Google Maps / Travel Technology / Winter Travel / Active Travel / Android / iOS / Skiing / Ski Travel / → All Tags
In case you missed it we’re in the middle of the winter, and pretty much everyone has been hit with the snow—especially those in the northeast. It’s definitely time to take a break from the shoveling and plowing, and make your way onto the slopes. Skiing down the mountain is way better than playing with the snow in your driveway, and now Google is even here to help you find your way.
Adding to their mapping empire, Google just recently revealed that they’ve got the scoop on a whole bunch of ski resorts. Their latest addition boosts their offerings by another 38, as they add to their collection of ski resorts and mountains across the United States and Canada. Different lines indicate lifts, trails, difficulty, and even the path to the best hot toddy by the fire. Okay—maybe not that last part, but we wouldn’t be surprised if that was buried in there somewhere.
We've long been worried about how the futuristic technology being built into Google Maps and Google Earth was pushing people to unironically say douchey things like 'now you can travel without leaving your house!' The problem isn't just that people are saying those things, though that's a problem too. It's that when you look at the direction technology is heading, those people might not be totally wrong.
Just to be clear, as travel junkies who like travel junkiism, we're not totally comfortable with the situation. But of course, we don't get a vote.
Travel Tech / Apple / Maps / Google Maps / Apple Maps / iPhone / iPad / Technology / Videos / → All Tags
Another day, another slew of inaccuracies discovered in iOS 6 Maps. The app, which comes new with the software update on iPads and iPhones but deletes Google Maps, is so crazy bad that it's become the butt of late night comedian monologue jokes, even spawning a particularly hilarious mocking Tumblr.
And it's not just getting driving directions wrong or putting a park where there's actually a parking lot. iOS 6 Maps has managed to make the world appear to be melting in 3D view, reverted some cities to their occupied names from World War II and, well...they're just generally confused about Australia (examples here & here).
Last week, social photo-sharing network Instagram released Version 3 of their crazy popular app, rife with new features and improved functionality. One such addition is the "Photo Map," which automates populates a Google Map with the images you have taken and geo-tagged. This means that, last week, your Instagram newsfeed liked look like a listing of who's adding how many photo to where on their map.
Instantly the traveler bragging and jealousy began. "Who in my network has the most diverse Photo Map?" "Who has the least?" Poor newcomers to Instagram probably felt more than a little miffed to view their maps, sans all the fun locations they'd hit earlier in the year and shared prior to becoming wrapped up in the addictive app.
Google just wrapped up a live press conference announcing a bunch of Google Maps upgrades. The invite hit people's inboxes last Friday, promising that the Mountain View tech company would unveil features taking Maps to "the next dimension." Summaries are beginning to hit the web, and you can follow what happened from minute one by scrolling to the bottom of the CNet liveblog and reading up.
Originally there was some debate over whether the "next dimension" hint meant Maps was going 3D or getting a timeline. At the very least the 3D rumors were accurate. Google Earth project manager Peter Birch explained that technology has only just recently gotten good enough to make realistic 3D maps, with programmers now using "automated technology to extract 3D from aerial images" and then employing stereophotogrammetrywhich Wikipedia describes as a "sophisticated technique...[for] estimating the three-dimensional coordinates of points on an object"to reconstruct full 3D models of cities. Even the trees are in 3D.
The standard recipe for a Google Maps mashup is fairly straight-forward. You find a list of where things are, you code the locations appropriately, and then you put everything on a map. Even though the process is a little bit paint-by-numbers, it can still lead to some very interesting and even mildly addictive results. The Google Incident Maps mashup is one of the better examples in that regard, and the much older Celebrity Houses mashup is an even more basic template.
But if you mix in just a little more programming magicand you get really creative about what how you grab and package the data - you can do some pretty fascinating stuff. The developers at the Estonian design firm Bluemoon built a script to scrape Panoramio, which is a photo sharing site, and to extract all of the geo-locations from the uploaded photos. Then they created a heatmap based on where photos were taken. The result is this mashup, which according to the project homepage is a global map color-coded "by level of touristiness."
Videos / Comedy Travel / Maps / Google Maps / Travel Tech / → All Tags
How do you sightsee, or even find your way when you're a bit lost in a city? Paper maps are so several years ago, so naturally you're going to pull out that phone and fire up GPS. And, naturally, it doesn't always load or pinpoint perfectly.
Luckily Deutsche Welle's TV news show Euromaxx has introduced a character who silently parodies these little hiccups of modern life, and his name is Max X..
Enjoy the little video abovea little laugh to start your weekand you can find more on Max X's YouTube channel here. We discovered Max X. while watching too much hotel TV, and hint that another one coming soon to the internet touches on the issue of taking photos of yourself in front of landmarks.
[VIdeo: Deutsche Welle/ Euromaxx]
Did you know? Google Maps has just expanded their Street View capabilities to Thailand! A partnership with the Tourism Authority of Thailand brings 360-degree street views to Bangkok, plus the tourist-favorite destination of Phuket and Chiang Mai. Right now it's just of the roads, but Google's trike bike will be going offroad to capture more of the sites, which are now dry of the floodwater that engulfed the country last fall. Check out the highlights right here.
Did you know? Google Maps is even taking to the rails, adding Swiss train routes to their Streetview. It's impossibly breathtaking in some places, and remember that you're still sitting at home or at work, viewing these panoramas. Imagine actually being there. To check out the highlights, go here.
And! Did you know? All of the best views, landmarks and scenic roads so far captured by Streetview are easily browsed thanks to a collection of galleries on Google Maps itself. UNESCO sites! The Amazon! Famous businesses! Visit the gallery here.
[Photo: Google Maps]